Electronic Signatures, more commonly known as E-Signatures, are the particulars used to sign documents by the Signatory. This type of signature has the same status as handwritten signatures until they are according to the rules of the specific regional authorities like eIDAS in the European Union region, NIST-DSS in the USA, or ZertES, in precisely the Switzerland.
E-Signatures are different from Digital Signatures. Electronic signatures include all signature forms, but digital signatures are attached to an actual signature; the main difference is that Digital signatures are used to secure a document, but E-Signature is used to verify the record.
It is crucial to note that every country has different rules for these kinds of Signatures from other countries. Still, in most countries, an E-Signature should be according to these regulations, which are under “Advanced Electronic Signatures”:
- The person should be uniquely identified for his e-signature, and the person must have sole control of his private key, which is used to create his e-signature.
- The docage esignature must be identified to the specific person whose related data of the e-signature has the sign of being tempered.
- If the data has been changed, the said e-signatures should immediately become invalid.
(Here, “person” meant to be by Signatory.)
In some regions like European Union, there is another robust system available called Qualified Electronic Signature. Technically, a Qualified Electronic Signature is being used through an advanced electronic signature that uses a digital certificate, which has been encrypted by a security signature-creating device and has been authenticated by a qualified trust service provider.
The United Nation’s Role
In 1996, The United Nations passed an important bill, “UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce.” Article No. 7 of this bill was highly influential in developing electronic signature laws worldwide, including in the US.
Then in 2001, UNCITRAL concluded work on a dedicated text adopted in thirty jurisdictions. Again in 2005, the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts discussed UNCITRAL text dealing with electronic signatures in article 9, paragraph 3.
Decided to establish a mechanism for functional equivalence between electronic & handwritten signatures at the international level and cross-border recognition.
Laws For Their Usage (In Various Countries)
- Australia – Electronic Transactions Act 1999.
- China – Law of the People’s Republic of China on Electronic Signature.
- Malaysia – Digital Signature Act 1997 and Digital Signature Regulation 1998
- New Zealand – Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017.
- Russian Federation – Federal Law of Russian Federation about Electronic Signature.
- Turkey – Electronic Signature Law.
Creation of E-Signature
There are various methods available on the internet to make an E-Signature. One of the most common methods is the:
- Click the review and sign link in an email. In the email, you received from the document sender to sign, click the link labelled “Click here to review and sign…”
- Click prompt in the document. (Open the document related to sign)
- Create an electronic signature. (Here, you can write your name, etc.,)
- Select the signature option. (Here, you can use an image, touch screen to use your finger or digital pen to sign the document).
- Sign document. (Normally, it shows the link to sign the paper).
- Finalize signature. (Normally, it shows the link to sign the document & send it).
In the modern era, with the help of the internet, our whole world has changed into a global village. We need to perform faster than before because of extreme competition.
Due to this extreme competition environment, It’s impossible to wait for days to send each contracting party’s received and signed contracts. To avoid this situation, we use specific Electronic Signatures uniquely created by very robust and secured software so the electronic signatures can not be quick-tempered. For this sole reason, the Signatory should have control of the private key used for the document’s signing.